Those eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that a set of new PPE regulations come into existence recently, which are being hailed as the biggest overhaul in over 20 years.
For those of you who weren’t aware, you should know that rather than being a directive (as the current guidelines are), these will be legally-binding obligations that could land you in difficulty should you fail to adhere to them. Don’t worry though; the new PPE regulations have been in place since April 2018 and won’t be fully-enforced until 21st April 2019, meaning you have some time to get yourself ready for the change.
Why are the PPE regulations changing?
A question many will be asking, and a valid one. In a recent interview with Safety & Health Practioner, Neil Hewitt, Division Director of Quality and Standards at Arco, explained that the new PPE regulations are coming into place to improve the ownership of PPE products within the supply chain, as well as to strengthen the product-type approval process, improve market surveillance and most interestingly for us here at Cirrus, to improve the requirements on certain elements of personal protective equipment, especially hearing protection.
Who will the new PPE regulations affect?
Basically, anybody who is involved in the process of manufacturing, supplying or buying PPE. This could be health and safety managers, PPE manufacturers or retailers who supply PPE to businesses and organisations.
What do the new PPE regulations mean and what do I have to do?
These new regulations don’t immediately change the standard of PPE itself, rather as previously mentioned, the new regulations are here to strengthen the product supply chain, whilst also ensuring that any equipment sold meets the latest standards when they arrive. What your place is in the supply chain will determine what your responsibilities are in terms of ensuring that your PPE is compliant. As a manufacturer, supplier/distributor or health and safety manager, your responsibility is to ensure that the products you supply/buy conform to the latest standards. For health and safety managers who are buying PPE for their workers, this could involve a number of things:
- asking your supplier to provide a Declaration of Conformity to show the original certificate for the equipment you are buying;
- asking your supplier to define their sample testing process to ensure that what you’re buying meets the required standards;
- asking your supplier to define the quality assurance process of the manufacturer from whom they source their equipment, to ensure that the PPE you’re buying is made to the standards it was originally certified for.